.PPM File Extension

Portable Pixmap Image

Developer Jef Poskanzer
3.5  |  59 Votes

What is a PPM file?

A PPM file is a raster image saved in the Portable Pixmap format. It contains plain text that specifies the image's type (plain or "raw"), its number of columns and rows, and its maximum color value. Plain PPM files then specify each pixel's color using ASCII-encoded numbers, while "raw" PPM files specify each included pixel's color using raw binary data.

More Information

Screenshot of a .ppm file in XnViewMP
PPM file open in XnViewMP

In the late 1980s, developer Jef Poskanzer created the PPM image format and added tools that could create and read PPM images to Pbmplus, his library of tools used to create and manage .PBM, .PGM, and PPM images. PPM files contain color images saved using an RGB color model. Typically, the images use a 24-bit color depth.

In most PPM files, each pixel's color is specified using a trio of ASCII numbers that set the pixel's red, green, and blue color values. Image rows are comprised of sets of RGB values equal to the image's width. These types of PPM files are referred to as plain PPM files and can be identified by the magic number P3 in their header.

"Raw" PPM files, on the other hand, specify each pixel's color using raw binary data, instead of ASCII-encoded numbers. If you were to open a "raw" PPM file in a text editor, its body would appear as gibberish instead of an understandable series of numbers. These files include the magic number P6 in their header.

While many programs support the PPM format, PPM images have quite large file sizes when compared with images saved in other formats, because they are not compressed. Thus, the PPM format is not used much.

How to open a PPM file

You can open a PPM file with many image viewing and editing programs. For example, you can open a PPM file with GIMP (multiplatform), XnViewMP (multiplatform), or Netpbm (multiplatform).

How to convert a PPM file

You can use Netpbm, ImageMagick or XnViewMP to convert PPM files to other image formats. For example, XnViewMP can convert PPM files to the following formats (and many others):

  • .JPG - JPEG Image
  • .GIF - Graphical Interchange Format
  • .PNG - Portable Network Graphic
  • .TIFF - Tagged Image File Format
  • .BMP - Bitmap Image
  • .PCX - Paintbrush Bitmap Image
  • .TGA - Targa Graphic
  • .JP2 - JPEG 2000 Core Image
  • .JXR - JPEG XR Image
  • .WEBP - WebP Image
Open and view .PPM files with File Viewer Plus.Free Download

Programs that open PPM files

Post Programmable Memory File

Developer N/A
2.7  |  10 Votes

Data file used to "flash" some Nokia mobile phones; sometimes used to change the language pack on a phone to support a different language; may also use the .PPM_B, PPM_C, or PPM_D file extensions.

Programs that open PPM files

BB5 FLS Editor

Flipnote Studio Animation

Developer Nintendo
2.5  |  2 Votes

A PPM file may also be an animation created by Flipnote Studio, a free animation app available for the Nintendo DSi. It contains animation frames and audio. PPM files are typically stored on a Nintendo DSi SD card.

More Information

Flipnote Studio is an animation app that Nintendo DSi players can download from the DSi Shop. It allows gamers to create simple animations and save them to their DSIs' SD cards. These animations are saved as PPM files.

PPM files are typically stored in the following locations:

  • North America: /​private/​ds/​app/​4B475545/​001
  • Europe: /​private/​ds/​app/​4B475556/​001

Some players have uploaded their PPM files to online Flipnote repositories, such as Flipnote Hatena or PPM Archive, from which other Flipnote users can download them.

NOTE: The PPM extension comes from Flipnote Studio's in-development name, Para Para Manga Koubou.

How to open a PPM file

In addition to being able to open and play PPM files in Flipnote Studio, you can open them in the web-based Flipnote Player.

Programs that open PPM files


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